What is it about Hallowe'en that is so thrilling? Maybe it's being out after dark, something that all mothers, including my own, discouraged - even forbade. Maybe it is being out after dark with your friends? Certainly, the assumed identities add to the fun - even if it's just a sheet with eye holes poked through. The bad candy is definitely a part of the thrill, too, but for me there was also a certain amount of delicious terror in approaching strangers' houses to beg for treats. Who knew what might happen?
Whatever the components, it all adds up to an awful lot of fun. We just returned from spending Hallowe'en with our granddaughter. She was dressed as a flamenco dancer, all red flounces with black polka dots - her Daddy brought her that outfit when he made a business trip to Barcelona recently. Her hair is too fine to hold a comb and a mantilla, but she has natural spit curls on her cheeks, so she really looked the part. She told anyone who asked that she was a flamingo - the nuances of costume may be lost on a three year old.
It was snapping cold and already dark by 6:30 in Boston where she lives. She and her three pals (a fireman, a dragon and Snow White) went Trick or Treating to perhaps six houses, netting a goodly amount of candy for such a short outing. We kicked through drifts of dry leaves on the sidewalks and shivered in the moonlight, catching glimpses of older children running from house to house - ghosts, axe murderers, vampires for a night.
Things have changed since I was a kid. Most of the costumes are no longer made at home. Most of the kids are escorted by their parents, even the older ones. Most of the treats are store bought, not made at home. The "Switch Witch" now trades most of the candy for toys while the children are asleep to save the parents from the inevitable sugar high the next day. But, the fun is the same. The novelty of being out in the dark and the thrill of the free loot haven't changed at all. I'm grateful for that.